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Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi expected to be the focus of Alberta’s first NDP leadership debate Achi-News

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Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi expected to be the focus of Alberta’s first NDP leadership debate

 Achi-News

Achi news desk-

Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is expected to be the center of attention as the first debate in Alberta’s NDP leadership race takes place Thursday night.

But a political scientist expects the exercise to be more domestic than civil war as the five candidates meet in Lethbridge, Alta., to put their best foot forward.

“It’s going to be tricky because they’re all going to want to differentiate themselves without hurting the chances of whoever wins,” said Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University. Calgary.

“Negativity turns people off.

“It’s a delicate balance in a leadership debate because you want to be supportive of the party and supportive of whoever becomes leader. You don’t want to kneel them down so they can’t serve effectively … but at the same time you have to differentiate yourself.”

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Nenshi, 52, was elected mayor of Calgary in 2010 and won three terms before deciding to bow out ahead of the 2021 municipal election.

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Other candidates include three current NDP members of the legislature: Kathleen Ganley of Calgary and Edmonton representatives Sarah Hoffman and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse.

Gil McGowan, head of the Alberta Federation of Labour, is also running.

Incumbent leader Rachel Notley announced in January her plan to step down after a decade at the helm of the provincial New Democrats. She is staying on as leader until the June leadership vote.

The NDP’s loss in the May 2023 election was the second in a row under Notley.


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Williams said she expected questions to be directed at Nenshi during the debate but they would not be personal attacks.

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“I don’t think it’s about convincing people who have bought a membership. I think this is about reaching out and communicating to Alberta more broadly what this party has to offer,” he said.

“I just think the audience they’re trying to appeal to doesn’t see negativity favorably.”

The next debate will be in Calgary in May and a third is scheduled for Edmonton in June.

Williams said now that the deadline has passed for people to buy party memberships and vote, it’s important for candidates to explain how their visions of the future are best for all Albertans.

“I think we’re basically at the start of the next election campaign and they’ve got to start winning people over from here.”

& copy 2024 The Canadian Press

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